7 Famous Base Jumpers Who’ve Helped Drive the Sport

BASE jump­ing. Is there any­thing riski­er? Because of the dan­ger involved in leap­ing from fixed objects towards an unfor­giv­ing ground, it is ille­gal in many places, and ath­letes have often sur­vived jumps only to be arrest­ed on land­ing. While cer­tain places have begun to allow it to pre­vent tres­pass­ing and the use of improp­er equip­ment, the num­ber of deaths con­tin­ues to grow as it gains pop­u­lar­i­ty. In this con­stant­ly evolv­ing sport, these sev­en peo­ple are among the most notable contributors.

Franz ReicheltReichelt
Riechelt was a French tai­lor who was one of the ear­li­est to come up with the idea for a para­chute. Sad­ly, he decid­ed to take the place of his test dum­my when drop­ping it from the first deck of the Eif­fel Tow­er in 1912, and he per­ished before he could per­fect his design.

Michael Pelkey and Bri­an Schu­bert
Pelkey and Schu­bert are a 2‑for‑1 deal because they were quite pos­si­bly the first mod­ern BASE jumpers. They leapt from Yosemite Park’s El Cap­i­tan, the sec­ond tallest cliff in the world, in 1966, and land­ed them­selves right in the his­to­ry books.

Carl Boen­ishboenish
This film­mak­er was a major force of intro­duc­ing the sport to the world, and he is believed by some to have coined the name. He pop­u­lar­ized the sport by film­ing some of the ear­ly jumps, and did a lot of work to pro­mote safe­ty and growth around it. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, he was killed while attempt­ing a cliff jump in Norway.

James Bond
Although 007 is a fic­tion­al char­ac­ter, the amount of BASE jumps he’s com­plet­ed has shown the pop­u­lar­i­ty of the sport in action movies. He has done at least four base jumps, includ­ing once from skis and anoth­er from the Eif­fel Tower.

Patrick de Gayardon
This adven­tur­ous sky­div­er was one of the minds behind cre­at­ing the mod­ern wing­suit. This pushed a major boost in jump­ing poten­tial, because humans could now func­tion under the same prin­ci­ples that fly­ing squir­rels use.

Glenn Sin­gle­manSingleman
This physi­cian once took his wife on a rather unusu­al date that Guin­ness rec­og­nizes as the world’s high­est alti­tude jump. That hasn’t stopped him from going after oth­er records, though, and his resumé also boasts the only wing­suit ride across Syd­ney Harbor.

Bill Eustace
This is a man who believes in seiz­ing oppor­tu­ni­ty. As a con­struc­tion crew mem­ber of the CN Tow­er in Toron­to in 1975, he decid­ed to be the first man to para­chute off of it. The jump was suc­cess­ful, but he was fired short­ly after.